I believe that critical decisions require critical thinking, which entails weighing all the alternatives carefully to make the most rational choices. The task faced by Obama at the moment requires no less as his choices will make or break the outlook of his administration. He must be sure that whoever joins the change train must be a clearly assessed factor through a thorough cost-benefit analysis, considering the larger vision of his leadership. Rationality in this case does not imply a political context, for we so easily assume that it is a requirement to fulfill national agendas. But in this wise, it represents a commonsensical approach to leadership selection considering the broader implications of America’s role in the global political and economic sphere. It is within this framework that President-elect Obama must operate from.
As an International politics commentator, I understand that it is the internal politics that determines the global effect a country has. But nowadays, it has become obvious that image is everything. What face people see representing the US is the character that they will define it by. Everyone tends to characterize Iran by the braggadocious Ahmadinejad, Russia by the thuggish Putin, and France by the boyish Sarkozy. Image matters a lot and international relations pundit will point quickly to why who trots the globe representing your interest is capable of raising the bar of your respect, or lowering the value states place on your presence. While Henry Kissinger was respected for his global influence and his diplomatic dance of shuttle diplomacy, Donald Rumsfeld was seen as an international devil and brought a lot of global disdain to the form of American politics. Madeline Albright and Condoleezza Rice did bring a more humane dimension to American foreign affairs. However, it seems to me that the Obama campaign is about to make the same mistakes the past administrations had made in selecting women as the Secretaries of State.
Let’s be frank here, this thing is not a textbook issue, it is a lot more about practical reality on how the world works. When selecting a woman as for this kind of positions, Obama will risk one major thing, others I may not be too informed to talk about. If he believes that he wants to bring even the most hardened states to a table of discussion and deliberation, he must know how some states function. The Middle-Eastern and more hard-line states have a problem with negotiating with women. This is because in those societies, women still function in subservient roles no matter their qualifications. You really think a man like Ahmadinejad will sit down with Hillary Clinton to discuss? Let’s not be deceived at this time, the world is still evolving and when such proud men who dominate and trouble the global system come to the rounds of talks, they carry their ego along with them and dump all forms of civility. Could one imagine that Putin will be telling Sarkozy that he will hangs Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia by the balls? That kind of use of coarse imagery by certain leaders shows how nasty the system has degenerated into. Obama will need a man who will stand shoulder to shoulder and eye to eye to throw down the gauntlet of tough diplomacy.
I feel funny talking about this because I am already being nailed to the cross for the sin of sexism. Although I do not see any other person as progressive as I am in noting that women should become the worlds administrators since they manage better, but I cannot help but state this point clearly. Obama’s choice may very well organize the funeral service for his foreign policy even before it is birthed. And let’s not forget that the whole world watch the spin of the campaigns over the past year. Clinton has been repeatedly quoted for criticizing Obama’s willingness to engage so called rogue nations (whoever defines them as so) in talks and has also stated that she will not sit down with certain people. How then will Obama get her to go against her own foreign policy disposition? Brother Barack needs a rethink on this issue if he really is thinking of offering her this job. Hillary no doubt is qualified and well traveled, but on this matter, she trails the likes of John Kerry (who also speaks fluent French) and Bill Richardson.
There is no big cake for big shots in a government of change. Change indicates a depart from the norm and a reinventing of rationale. If this is really about change, then Obama will certainly see that Hillary had a special heart for Health Care in the US. I believe strongly that if he places her as the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Hillary will work her heart out and give value to the lives of Americans. So Barack what are you doing? We are trusting you to do the right and the right you must do with the abundant political and social capital at your disposal. Peace Bro.